Thursday, December 22, 2011

The End of Unions to Come by January 1?

This is a very striking piece about how corporations and the GOP are fighting the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), over requiring businesses to put up a poster informing workers on what their rights are (to collectively bargain, join a union, etc.) and what actions employers are prohibited from taking against their employees.  In this economy, I believe that most employees are scared shitless and wouldn't dare to do many of these things, poster or no poster.  But for the top 1% to not even want their employees to know what their rights are...  As a coworker of mine would say, "tragic". 

Anyway, a potentially larger story is nearly hidden in the closing paragraphs.  Several articles linked to in the story report on the fact that the NLRB has been under assault for decades by mainly Republicans, in an attempt to undermine their abilities to enforce labor law and to protect unionization.  In the latest development, the Supreme Court ruled last year that the NLRB needed at least 3 members on its board in order to be operational.  Due to Republican filibusters in the Senate to prevent voting on new members to the board, Obama has had to make emergency appointments in order to keep the board active.  After one member's term is up on December 31, there will not be enough members on the board for its rulings to be valid.  The potential of this is huge.  As the New York Times points out in an op-ed,

Workers illegally fired for union organizing won’t be reinstated with back pay. Employers will be able to get away with interfering with union elections. Perhaps most important, employers won’t have to recognize unions despite a majority vote by workers. Without the board to enforce labor law, most companies will not voluntarily deal with unions. 

Do not take this to mean that I am strictly pro-union.  I have my own issues with them, probably the biggest being that their missions to raise wages and benefits for its members, noble as they undoubtedly are, are going to be unrealistic in the new world that we are slowly waking up to.  Peak Everything will affect everyone, and a rising standard of living for union members will no longer be possible, like it was in the mid to late 20th century.  But they are a bulwark for workers, sometimes a shitty bulwark, but a bulwark nonetheless.  I have read and seen countless corporate propaganda over the years, stating that employees don't need unions, that the businesses have an "open-door" policy, that they look out for their workers.  And I can tell you that it's bullshit.  The only goal for business is to make money.  They couldn't give two shits about their employees.  Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox now.  Anyway, I think the best objective for unions, rather than aiming for a higher standard of living for its members, is to protect them from arbitrary actions by their employers, and to ensure that the upper echelons of management aren't being rewarded with wheelbarrows of cash and company cars while the rank-and-file get nothing.


(Sara) bsb_fan_1_22 said...

Hello Jeff!
I've been having computer problems lately; sorry I haven't responded in a while.

I hope you are doing well and had a good holiday!

All the best in the New Year!

Great information on here too! You have some great points! ttyl

Jeff said...

Hey Sara,

Yeah, I check the messenger now and again, and haven't seen a message from you in a long time. I just figured you were busy in school. Didn't know about the computer problems. I'm glad you found me via the blog, most people wouldn't think of that, and I know you don't have Facebook.

The holidays were alright, felt a little weird. I always feel at least a little festive and in the spirit. But this season might as well have been the month of May or something, I didn't feel anything as far as Christmas was concerned. Maybe that's me getting old. As for gifts, my highlight was an espresso machine from my brother. I just found out how to make lattes; the crappy thing is that the machine is starting to leak, I hope it passes, I love it otherwise.

I try not to make resolutions, but this year I really want to find a job. I'm taking a civil service exam for a legal assistant in late January, so I'm doing a lot of studying on legal research.

How is school going? Were you able to find something? Thank you for the praise of the blog, I try to post when I can, it's been hard lately.

In the future, if you can't access Messenger, try to email me at That way we can have a private conversation. Great hearing from you, and I hope you have a great new year.


Jeff said...


Oh, just wanted to let you know that my brother finally started watching "24" on Netflix. He blew through the first season in around a week, and is now on the second. He's really enjoying it.